Rafa Roundup: Did you know Cher is a big Nadal fan?

(Photo by Tnani Badreddine/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

ARTICLES:

This rivalry has been marked by extreme momentum swings. Nadal found his top gear on tour earlier than Djokovic and won five of the first six matches between them; then they split four. Nadal won seven of the next eight, then Djokovic found himself and won 10 of 12. Nadal got the upper hand again, winning six of seven over the next two years, but Djokovic won 11 of 12 from 2013 to 2016 while Nadal was battling injury and form issues. But then Djokovic dealt with his own set of injuries and issues, and Nadal had won five of the past eight — with all wins coming on clay — before Djokovic’s Friday win.

From 2012 to 2016, Nadal hit 30 percent of his first shots after his serves from inside the baseline. But each year he has worked with Moya, that number has risen, first to 36 percent, then to 39 percent, then to 41 percent, and last year to 42 percent.

Why is that so important? Because when Nadal hits that first shot from inside the baseline, he wins 74 percent of the points. When he hits the first shot from behind the baseline, he wins just 59 percent of the points.

And while Nadal often drifts deep into the back court when his opponents serve, the points quickly evolve into a fight for him to get forward, to that nub of tape in the middle of the baseline he earlier kicked clean to give himself a target to scurry toward during the point.

Even though Nadal is giving himself less time to set up by stepping into the court for that first shot, he is still hitting the ball back as hard as he always did, on average about 75 miles per hour, according to Hawkeye, with a fierce level of topspin that makes his ball feel like a rock on his opponents’ rackets.

Novak Djokovic’s epic battle with Rafael Nadal in the Roland Garros semi-finals began trending on Twitter long before the match ticked over the four-hour mark. After 13-time champion Nadal won the opening set, Djokovic fought back to win 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-2 to set up a meeting with Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s final.

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161 comments

  1. There is a good article in Firstpost, which analyses Rafa’s high error count and Djokovic’s change of tactics in the semi-final. I know it may make painful reading for Rafa fans, but it’s honest and direct in its assessment.

    [Title “French Open 2021: From Nadal’s High Count of Errors to Djokovic Learning From Past, how Epic Semi-Final Was Decided”]

  2. Marileena and Margo,

    You both make very valid points and raise some questions that many of us have no doubt been wondering about where Rafa is concerned. We don’t know the degree of mental stress he’s going through, both professionally and privately.
    It’s true that all we can do is wait to see what Rafa does moving forward. We can all speculate and have our opinions, which is natural, but it’s Rafa who will decide when it’s right to step out on court again.

    • Margo …no no not enough gluten to cause him an anaphylaxis episode! A much less invasive dose just to give him a mild sniffle, in which case could cause his contact lens to fog!

  3. If Rafa doesn’t play Wimbledon it’s up to his fans to keep you-know-who from reaching #20. Anyone have a plan B to accomplish that?

    Cheer for his opponents
    Let loose a gazillion mosquitoes on his side of the court and his bench.
    Replace his shoestrings with defective ones
    Make sure the sun beats down on him alone
    Tell him he just won the Serbia presidency and he has to fly there immediately
    Tell him Wimbledon is actually going to be held in Serbia. If he misses his match at the real Wimbledon he forfeits
    Tell him his energy drinks are banned.
    Tell him no toilet breaks allowed for him
    No MTO’s
    Tell him if he’s not vaccinated he can’t play.
    Tell him his wife and team are dumping him for better pay
    Tell him if it rains he still has to play [he always complains about rain].

    So many delicious options 😂

      • So sad to hear the announcement that Rafa won’t be playing at Wimbledon and Tokyo.Olympics, i hope he gets better soon and wishing him all the best for the future 😢💐🙏

      • YIKES YOWZA OMG 😂🤣😂🤣

        I didn’t say kill him Ziggy. We could get arrested for metabolic espionage [legal term for messing with a tennis players’ energy drink to cause a severe anaphylactic reaction which could lead to said tennis player pushing daisies].

      • Aww C’mon Margo…. what’s a little gluten amongst friends!! lol

  4. Marijnt,

    David is correct. Statistics show that Rafa has one of the best returns of serve in the game and his record against big servers is very good, because he is able to read their serve quickly.

    Djokovic doesn’t have a huge serve, but his placement is very good. Rafa’s serve deserted him in the key moments in the semi-final, mainly due to nerves and the “Djokovic Effect”.

  5. Marileena, re Rafa’s autograph.

    I’m looking through my library. We have the same book so we can simply exchange the cover. If a stranger rings your doorbell it will be the Uber driver who I sent pre-paid round trip. Queens…right?

    • I was actually born and raised in Queens … that’s how I went as a kid with my Dad to the US Open every year…. but … as an adult I lived on Long Island…. lived in Manhattan…. and now in NJ where I raised my kids who have followed the tradition and now come every year with me to the Open….

      So …. send that Uber driver over the bridge if you want that autograph!! However…I’m not sure my daughter will part with it! 🙂 lol

      • Ziggy… Neither one of my children are over the moon “crazolo” fans of Rafa like their mother….They enjoy tennis for sure but I’m in a whole other category when it come to Rafael and they know it.. 🙂

    • I can see the headlines Marileena, “World #1 loses Wimbledon caused by Gluten Effect.” I’ll put you on my visitors list at Sing Sing.

      • Thanks Margo…. I’ll look forward to visiting….
        I’ll bring you the signed book…. It’s the least I could do for such a noble cause!! LOL

      • Same here Marileena! I stand alone in my obsession with Rafa! My family and friends are not really tennis fans but the ones that are have their nose pasted to Roger! Roger Roger Roger! They like his graceful ballet style of play…me I love Rafa’s gladiator, warrior style! If I wanted to see a ballet I would go see Mikhail Baryshnikov perform! When Rafa is playing I usually schedule myself off of work & all commitments! It’s like being bipolar…Rafa wins I’m in a good mood Rafa loses & I’m down! ( much better now though) This site has been like a psychiatrists couch for me! It’s a good outlet! I could put Novak to Shame with my outburst when Rafa misses a drop
        shot or plants a forehand into the net! It’s much better if I’m alone! My poor dog, she gets the blunt of my tantrums…she’s been through the wringer with us Rafa fanatics!

  6. Interesting analysis i also have noticed that nadal is talking negative about his age. And Nadal has aged if you look at djokovic he hasnt aged at all.

    In my view nadal should play wimbeldon give himself indeed a chance. He has done well over the last two years reaching the semifinal. The best year for nadal to win again wimbeldon was 2018 when he lost under the roof in five sets to djokovic.

    Rafa needs to ask himself wheter he is still motivated and has the desire to compete for the biggest titles. I didnt like his reaction after the loss against stefanos in Australia en against Djokovic in Paris.

    When Moya was becoming nadal head coach i really thought that he would make a complete player of Nadal just like djokovic. Unfortunatly that turned out not to be the case.

    Rafa has struggled his whole career with having a good serve and return of serve. You saw that again against djokovic where he didnt had a lot of aces and free points and he had to work for every service game in the fourth set he was just dead tired.

    Also what i have notice for a couple of years is that nadal has lost his mental strenght. He just to win epic matches now he is losing them his opponents dont fear him anymore when it comes to going to distance.

    Carlos Moya en francisco Roig have to make sure that rafa is in best shape physically but also thinking about adding someone to the team who can help nadal with improving his mental strenght. Djokovic did that by hiring boris becker who helped him becoming the mentally strong player that he is right know.

    Last he should work with someone on improving his serve and return of serve. I still remember the rafa from the us open 2010 who had then a incredible serve and was difficult to break. If he would have just that serve on friday he would have won against Nole.

    He needs to be a complete player if he still wants to win big titles and not be remembered as that great player on clay.

      • ziggy

        As a matter of fact I do have the answers and if he would ask me for advice I would give it to him. Everything that I said is complety true nothing is a lie

    • I agree with those who are concerned about Rafa’s serve. In 2019 and 2020 his serve was a positive weapon. I think that Rafa has not fully recovered from the AO back injury. I also think that the only way to improve the serve is to continue playing tournaments.

      As to his return, I agree with the Tennis Channel commentators who said the three best for return of serve
      are Rafa, Djokovic and Diego. An ATPTour.com analysis last year showed that Rafa’s return of service is indeed the best.

      I am sure that Rafa needs a mental reset but I doubt that it would hinge on whether he talks about his age or not. In my view his physical conditioning depends completely on how he is playing. Rafa obviously had no problem playing a fourth set against Diego.

      I have no problem with Rafa not being like Djokovic. I would not want that.

      Finally I agree with those who say Rafa should play Wimbledon. He played well there in both 2018 and 2019. The Next Gen’s don’t have that much experience playing on grass especially since there was no 2020 tournament. Sure Rafa is tired his week but by the start of Wimbledon I think he could be ready to go.

      • david,

        Thanks for your take on it. I didnt know that rafa return is the best or one of the best I dont see the effectiviness of his return in his matches against big servers and djokovic.

        What is your take on him standing so far behind the baseline. When he was 25 years I could understand that but now i dont understand why he is doing that. He is unable to put depth in his return because of that position. Why is not playing closer to the baseline

      • David… I have always wondered why Rafa can’t bat more aces… that would have helped him so much throughout his career.He has an adequate serve but just very little aces. Do you think it’s because he has so much spin that it just spins away from the line? Regarding his negativity about aging… Don’t we all hate getting older? Rafa is only being realistic… I think he can really feel that he is 35 years old now… No longer a teenager! I understand that everyone is horribly disappointed, heartbroken, even angry that Rafa lost to Novak…We can’t understand how Rafa can choke & fail to play his full potential while playing him.Then we could go to the 🐐 talk! The greatest of all time…. if it were just not the most GS and more of a combination of things like, sportsmanship, gold medals, Davis wins, most wins in one tournament then Rafa would would surely end up as GOAT! Novak would be the 3rd 🐐behind Roger!
        ( for me there is no question). I have been on this site for many many years… I keep forgetting to ask Margo how long this site has been up. I was under a different name and somehow got bumped off but Margo was the one I really relied on… She always looked up statistics and such and shared it here. ( still is) & I have always enjoyed her writing! ( still do)! I see so many names that have been on here for years. We have all been through the wringer being devout Rafa fans! I am at a different place now (meaning that I don’t go into the deep dark Rafa abyss) but trust me I’ve been there & know exactly how y’all feel!! There is something about Rafa mlike Cher says that steals your heart. I’m hoping that Rafa will play Wimbledon… I think he will bounce back.We have been through this many times with Rafa. Serena is still going to try but I don’t see her winning another GS. But kudos to her if she does! I’ve learned never to underestimate Rafa! He will be back and I do believe he will win at least a few more GS! 💜💜💜RAFA win or lose!

      • Ziggy, it was some years back that Uncle Toni expressed disdain for aces and probably passed that on to Rafa. Lorna was here at the time, I believe. Do you remember that Lorna?

        Toni said he didn’t want to watch “wham bam” tennis, or something to that effect. He believes in the artistry of setting up points.

        I can’t say that is the reason Rafa doesn’t play more aces but it could be a factor.

      • David, Rafa played well against Diego, true. But it was the first match in which he faced a strong clay player and was truly tested. His recovery to play the semis may not have been optimum is what I’m saying.

      • Ziggy, I have no idea how long RNF has been up and running. Since I’ve been here I do know that it has changed management at least twice.

        I forgot to mention that Rafa repeated Toni’s “wham bam” comments in a presser and that’s why I said Toni may have inculcated that idea in Rafa. I remember when I first heard Toni say it because he had me laughing at such an unexpected phraseology, especially coming from him. I wonder if he knows what guys mean when they say the entire phrase.

  7. Thank you Rafa fans – all of you. Love reading all your comments and essay.

    My fervent euch is that Rafa does play on even if he misses out on Wimbledon. What upsets me is his constant negative talk and thoughts on his age. The negativity will make him feel older. Hope someone can guide him and make him see things differently.

    • Rafa fan 1, I agree with you there. If Rafa is to get further satisfaction from his remaining years on the tour he must snap out of this nègative mindset. It’s as if he’s pining for his younger years. You don’t hear Serena or Roger making constant reference to age. On the contrary Roger, in particular, tends to deal with it in a matter-of-fact way.
      If he keeps thinking like this, his mind will convince his body that he’s done. Rafa is in very good physical shape and his speed around the court is still one of the best, so he has to remember that.

      Rafa saying he will not play Mallorca after his loss at RG is mainly down to the deep disappointment he’s feeling, especially knowing that his conqueror was Novak. If Rafa had won RG he might well have decided differently. It’s strange how the mind and body can bounce back after a hard-fought tournament if you come out the victor.

      Initially, I thought it would be understandable if Rafa skipped Wimbledon, but now, having viewed things with fresh eyes, I think he should play at the tournament. After all, there’s no chance if you don’t give yourself a chance.

      • I agree Lorna…. He is bogged down with the age thing…. Constant … non stop….every interview… He says it with a smile but he expresses concern – all-the-time!! . So it brings me to ask why…. Why is he so consumed with his age and his constant wish to turn back the clock….
        Is it the abundance of injuries throughout his career that has taken a toll on him…. Is he getting more fatigued easily now…. Is his stamina off….Is it some or all of the above that brings Rafa to this negative space of “getting older” and the fear that his career will coming to an end at some point….
        Can he not enter Wimbledon if he feels he’s not ready and can’t compete? How many times have we seen Rafa play when he is not at his best….and he’s stilling kicking a– on the court…..

        None of us know the physical side of this…. We don’t know what this clay court swing took out of Rafa physically… Is he in pain? Is he exhausted beyond anything he has ever felt….We only see what we see on court, not the after effects… And we know the physical side is affecting the mental side of this equation without doubt…

        One thing I know for sure….. Rafa LOVES to compete and he wants to win….So, if Rafa doesn’t feel he has shot at winning, then maybe he wants to lay off and get ready for the next event…. After all, he has reached a point where he can pick and choose his tournaments…
        For me….Wimbledon will not be the same without him…. And your right Lorna…. one never knows what the outcome would be… You have to be in it to win it….. But… we only know what we see, hear, and deduce…. It’s Rafa and his team that know it all.

        Personally… I’ll back anything he decides… I think if he skips Wimbledon….he ought to skip Tokyo too as he is very Covid conscious… Get the hardcourt practice going and enter Toronto, where he loves to play to get ready for the US Open. He needs to feel comfortable wherever he goes next. At the US Open he can defend his 2019 title in front of a FULL CAPACITY crowd who will show him all the love and lift him up….

        Time will tell what’s next for our boy!

    • I don’t know, Lorna and Rafa fan 1. I believe it was at the age of 8 that Rafa said, in his book “Rafa,” that he didn’t like birthdays. It’s nothing new and, now that he is 35, those feelings are even more relevant. I say let him talk about his age. It could be a defense mechanism to help him deal with a loss of this magnitude [R-G]. I do agree, though, that negative thoughts about his age could wear him down both mentally and physically.

      I know it’s a sensitive subject, but each day when he looks into the mirror to comb his hair it may make him feel he is getting old. Not true of course because hair loss can happen at any age for plenty of different reasons. I have no idea what he may be thinking, just to be clear.

      What I think is that he is exhausted and needs time off. Playing Wimbledon would not give him time enough to tune out, enjoy himself off court, and be prepared to play grass. Then again, he could fool everyone. I, too, would love to see him play Wimbledon but I’m not betting on that.

      He has often expressed that he never dreamed of accomplishing such a storied career and perhaps he needs more time to assess where he goes from here. It could be that simple or it could be more complicated than we can imagine.

      I’m just waiting to learn what his next move is. I hope he can say checkmate and win the biggest prize on the board.

      • Margo…Great points….

        Btw…. I brought the book to the Open years ago and after he won a match (maybe 3-4th round, I forget against who) he first walked behind his bench and signed tons of signatures…. and to leave the court the exit was on the opposite side…. So he came across and he stopped and signed a ton of signatures on this side where I had my “Rafa” book in my hands extended and he signed the cover with a big signature all the way across his pictured face!

        OMG..Talk about a thrilling day that was!!! I still think about it!

      • Hi Margo,

        I remember reading that too, it seems like Rafa didn’t like birthdays even at such a young age.🤔 I believe he just needed some time to rest his body and soul, and I am sure he and his team will make a good decision on what’s next for him. Best wishes to Rafa always!❤️

        Marileena, how lucky! Happy for you!!! I also brought his book with me to a few tournaments but no luck until Barcelona Open 2019. I didn’t have his book this time, but I had my lucky charm with me, my husband lol. We saw Rafa and his team in the hotel lobby waiting for his ride to practice. I had a photo with him and my husband even took a short video while I asked him for his autograph. I often look at this photo, and it brings a smile on my face every time.😝

  8. As many have heard, 5 minutes before Stefanos Tsitsipas stepped onto the court at the French Open, his beloved Grandma Stavroula passed away… He made this announcement on his Instagram account hours after he lost the match…It is not confirmed whether he knew before or was told after the match was completed… All
    I have do know is that his beloved Grandma was blind and was not able to watch her grandson play and so after every match, Stefanos would call her with the results…

    To Stefanos and his whole family… I am deeply sorry for your loss …..
    May Grandma Stravroula RIP…🙏🙏🙏

      • Stefanos dedicated his match “to her alone.”

        “Five minutes before entering the court my very beloved grandmother lost her battle with life. A wise woman whose faith in life, and willingness to give and provide can’t be compared to any other human being that I have ever met,” Tsitsipas wrote. “It’s important to have more people like her in this world. Because people like her make you come alive. They make you dream.
        “I would like to say that regardless of the day, circumstance or situation, this is entirely dedicated to her, and only her. Thank you for for raising my father. Without him this wouldn’t have been possible.” [ATP]

        Knowing Stefanos had reached the final must have filled her heart with joy.

        My sympathies to Stefanos and his family.

    • Oh, i didn’t know this Marleena, as I haven’t looked at any soacial media or media reports and comments (apart from this site) since Rafa lost.
      A moving tribute to his grandmother.
      Stefanos is a very well mannered, ambitious young man and i can see that he got tremendous inspiration and good teaching from his grandmother, RIP 🙏🏼

  9. I just don’t believe this. Between reading fans’ comments and channel surfing I stopped at a station where a very handsome guy was singing. At first I thought it was Italian but I couldn’t understand a word, which was unusual. I checked to see in which country I had landed. GREECE
    I’m going to take that as a good sign. Maybe there’s hope for Stefanos to stop you-know-who.

    Something coincidental happened not long ago. While working on my dad’s family tree I came across my last name attached to someone either living or who lived in Mallorca. Not a common name. I’m gonna keep digging. Most of my DNA says Spain.

    • What a coincidence Margo! Of course there’s hope, just a matter of time, hopefully sooner rather than later.🤞

      Keep digging and give updates please, I am nosy.😜

      Got to get on my bike now……

      • I have never found myself at a Greek channel. Never.

        Mimi, your comedic side has blossomed here, “I’m nosy.”
        You must keep your husband in stitches because I’m still laughing yes as I type yes making a lot of typos. Only at times like this do I appreciate auto correction because the errors are soooo bad!

        For me, building a family tree has to be done in stages because it’s so addictive. Once I start I can spend a week just on one or two people. Checking, double checking, cross referencing. Going through all kinds of very old records. You get the picture. If that person and I are related the name should show up again. Of course I’ll let you know if there’s anything to report.

      • Hmmm…. it just dawned on me. I should keep digging while I sit and my derrière gets bigger while you get on your bike shedding calories???? You’ve got some nerve😉

        Going to walk the pooch, so there!

      • Margo,

        You are too funny, like a comedian, I can’t stop laughing while reading your posts.😁
        Thank you 🙏😘

  10. I’d just like to say thanks to all Rafa fans for sticking around on here, and @RNF for providing this site. I already had some difficult personal issues going on, and although I know I shouldn’t depend on Rafa winning a tennis match for my happiness, it would have boosted my mood a lot had he won.

    Many fan acccounts on social media and tennis forums feel the need to take a break when Rafa loses, which is completely understandable. It’s been a very hard couple of days for all of us, but it really helps to read everyone’s comments (and essays – thanks Alex!) and have somewhere that’s not hostile to Rafa to talk about tennis. Thank you all 🙂

    • Hi jas_uk,

      Best wishes to you!❤️
      I believe I understand how you feel……a few years ago, I had to deal with a health issue which required surgery. I remember it happened during a tournament, and it was Rafa who lifted my spirit!🙏

  11. Hello fellow Rafans,

    Commiserations to everyone who (like me) is struggling with intense feelings of sadness and disappointment. I have been trying to gradually reflect over the last two days, and sum up some of my feelings about Rafa’s loss. Some of it is hopeful, and some is not so hopeful.

    Not so hopeful:

    understanding how this changes the complexion of the GOAT debate, and how hard it is now to deny Novak his due – the 2x slam thing was what bothered me most (as I had been hoping for Rafa to do that first in Australia since 2009)

    feeling like something has changed for Rafa – not just the objective fact that someone beat him here in the semis, and other players will take heart from that – but more subjectively, he seems to be losing trust in his game and his body, esp his frequent negative references to age

    Rafa probably not paying Wimbledon means I’m starting to face up to the fact that non-clay slams are going to get harder now, with some likely out of reach

    not knowing if he has the will / motivation to “reboot” himself for another full season(s), doing the tour, getting the points he needs to contend . . . he doesn’t talk the way D or F do about feeling young and playing into their late 30s, and he doesn’t have that relentless drive of D . . . I wish he did, but he has a different body / mindset

    Hopeful:

    feeling that Peak Rafa didn’t show up, that he really wasn’t his best in that match – if he had played just slightly higher in terms of concentration or shots, he would have won – something seemed to be up with him physically (though not perhaps pronounced enough to be an “injury”) – therefore I don’t think he is feeling despair that D beat him, more like it was normal because he wasn’t his best, but he can be better and win (note his pre-match comments less than a year ago, before the 2020 final, where he told his team he knew he “had it” that day, and he did)

    I think covid is still a big factor in this – he wasn’t able to take the momentum from tournaments last year, he was cooped up in hotel rooms (not good for managing pressure), he was distracted by national events – I hope that next year he will be able to find his groove again and deal better with tour life

    feeling that D winning the FO again was an inevitability, he was so fixed on it – and it’s easier to be the chaser than the defender multiple times – now it’s happened, I hope I can move past, because one of my fears came true, so I can stop fearing it

    related, a sense that maybe some pressure has been taken off Rafa by this loss – he keeps telling us he is a human and he needs to play well every day to win, but I never really listened to him – maybe now he can just be one of the favourites, playing freely without needing to defend the title, just enjoying it – that’s when he produces greatness, in my opinion

    Finally:

    during the pandemic when tennis was off, I told myself that I would be happy just watching Rafa on court, I didn’t need any particular result. My wanting a particular result got in the way of that again (understandably), but I hope I can recapture some of that pleasure and enjoyment and present-tense thinking now, because he deserves to be praised for nearly every point, whether or not he wins the final one.

    Thank you for reading my essay(!) and my sincerest best wishes to you all.

    Alex 🙂

    • Thank you so much Alex, enjoyed reading your essay, especially the “Finally:” part. I felt the same way back then. Best wishes to you too!

    • To all Rafael Nadal fans ( like myself) I had been waiting for someone to answer me this Question: will this defeat to Novak, will forever demolish , the Desire of Nadal of keeping on fighting for more titles??? Can someone give me straight answer??? It seems like with this win in the French open, Novak had become the Goat!!!

      • Hi Tatamalo,

        Sorry, I don’t know the answer, but ND will never be the GOAT in my heart no matter how many titles he wins and how many records he breaks PERIOD!

      • Tatamalo, do you honestly feel now is the time to talk about GOATNESS? I don’t think so.

        As for Rafa, only he knows how he is feeling. How well he recuperates will surely dictate his decision making.

        I think these are the best answers you’re gonna get.

      • Mimi Lau, thank you, for your Answer!!! I need to hear that we Rafans still have faith on Rafael Nadal!!! I’m hurting so much with this lost, I can’t describe it in words!!! Thank you, for restoring my my confidence!!!

  12. Even Mouratoglou, Stefanos’s FITNESS coach, said Stef was ready. I’m starting to think everyone is a fibber [liar is too harsh 😂].

    • LOL…..
      You are very funny today Margo….
      Between this and sending Stefanos to jail to do hard labor….. You’re cracking me up!
      And for sure, it’s just what I need right now…

      Ughhhh He has #19 Help me Rhonda!!!

      • LOL Now you have me laughing. Yesterday Mimi. Today you.

        I don’t like feeling rotten so I’m just gonna say he [ND] won and that’s that. Let’s see what the kids do at Wimby.

        We are spoiled, spoiled, spoiled.

        Rafa is stuck with us whether he likes it or not. There are better days ahead.

  13. This a a bummer, without question….
    Ughhh… Would have rathered anyone but ND…

    This next gen has not reached the level..,. They can win smaller tournaments…. They can make it to the semi’s of a GS and maybe even a final of a Grand Slam as we saw today…. but they can’t shut the door…. Facing Novak or Rafa in a Grand Slam final, one must know that Rafa and Novak thrive in 5 set matches…. They have the stamina and most important they have the mental fortitude… Anyone who watches Rafa or Novak knows it’s not over. They dig deep when it comes to a fifth set… The next Gen players don’t know how to conquer that yet… Maybe its intimidation… maybe they’re running out of steam….maybe they’re not as strong mentally….maybe they need more time…..
    But to be a Grand Slam Champion you have to have that mental toughness and sharpness within your game not to allow a break in the 5th or you better break him back if it happens…..

    Stefanos….this will hurt him, probably shake his confidence….. Hopefully his team and family will lift him up and remind him that his time will come….

    • I agree Marileena. What separates “the men from the boys” in best of five set matches is invariably mental fortitude. The truly amazing thing about Rafa is that he displayed that at the age of 19! He won the French Open the very first time he entered the tournament. (Neither Roger nor Djokovic were able to do that.) Rafa is truly unique.

    • Stefanos started to fizzle in set three, then it was over. Flashes of greatness throughout, for sure, but he was inconsistent and gave too many points away. Gotta hand it to him for taking ND to five and scaring the heck out of him😂🤣😂👏

      • 👍👍👍 That’s true lol. First it was Musetti, then Stefanos. We need something to laugh at to get thru this “dark” time.😂🤣

      • ROF LMAO Mimi re @ 11:53PM

        His eyes would bug out when Stef bettered him. I also saw a big flash of anger but he controlled it. I should watch him more often because I didn’t realize how much I’ve been missing😬

      • Margo,

        Like I have said before, I don’t watch him unless he plays Rafa or I check scores and he is behind like this morning, but sadly he ran away with a W once again, and a Big W today.😭

        Are you sure you want to watch more of this ‘crazy’ man?😂

        I remember he destroyed a bench playing at RG one year against Rafa, probably 2012🤔. Instead of replacing him another one, the umpire or tournament officials should have made him sit on the clay the rest of the match, just saying.👎

      • No Mimi, it was a bad joke. I find him repulsive. But if Rafa has to play him I will be forced to watch.

    • Yes, for sure it will hurt him……but he is so young and talented, he has so many more chances ahead of him. This was his first GS final.

  14. Did Stefano get some treatment on his lower back after the 2nd set???

    I really don’t know what happened to Stefano …… all of a sudden.

    Talking about youngsters being big on promises but not delivering – yep ….. Satin at one point, I think during the Laver cup, just couldn’t understand why none of the youngsters could beat the big 3 and win a GS.

    Terrible outcome!! Something I dreaded- worst nightmare ……. what’ll happen at the remaining GSs in the future.

  15. Once Novak won the third set he had a spring in his step and i sensed trouble because he rarely panics when behind.
    I turned off the tv when Novak broke Stefanos in the fifth. I didn’t want to see the victory celebrations from Norvak or his box and like you, Jas-uk i didn’t want to see the presentation ceremony either.

    I’m sorry that Stefanos just couldn’t get over the line, but he had his chances….and there will be many more to come.

    • Lorna, just in case you didn’t see…reports are that Christian Eriksen had a cardiac arrest and the quick attention he received on the pitch probably saved his life. A defibrillator was used to bring him back as he lay on the court before he was brought to the hospital. Doctors are still testing as everything looks ok so far. Christian has no recall of falling.

      I sure hope they can make a diagnosis.

  16. What really aggravates me is the younger guys saying they can beat the BIG guys and then they fizzle away. I really expected Stefanos to win but his level dropped so badly in the third set…or was it the beginning of the fourth set? Hope he goes to jail and has to do hard labor.

    • Exactly so, Margo. The “youngsters” are big on promises and short on delivery, much to Novak’s delight. Ughhhh!

      • Thiem at the Aussie Open and today Stefanos……ND won 19 GS.☹️

    • Hahaha

      Stafanos came back from 2 sets down to beat Rafa in the AO.

      Now Djoker comes from 2 sets down to beat Stafanos today.

      Big on promises, short on delivery. That’s just right. Ugh.

      What will stop Djokovic from winning all the remaining major tournaments this year?

      • Looking at the rest of the field, I don’t think anyone is going to beat Djokovic right now, because no one has the belief. Coming from two sets to love down in successive matches must boost his confidence sky high and make him feel invincible.
        The person that had the answer was Stan W with his sheer brute force….Scary, if that’s what it takes!

      • Lorna, as soon as I checked scores on my iPad this morning, I thought Stefanos is even better than Stan the Man back in 2015, but ugh……

  17. I generally don’t trust the young players to get the job done but this really did look like it could go Stef’s way, well done to him though for fighting to the last. Not watching the presentation, certainly don’t want to see Djoko with the Coupe des Mousquetaires, it will always be Rafa’s trophy to me.

    • Two YUCKS!!!

      Stefanos not happy, very sad-faced. Crowd cheering him. Where are these youngsters when we need them.

      • Many fans Margo probably bought their tickets early on expecting to see Rafa in the final. They did their best to encourage Stefanos as they surely weren’t going to cheer for N.D. I probably would have taken out my boo bird!

        Kudos to Tsitsipas for making it a 5 setter but he needs to hit the gym much more vigorously if he ever hopes to cross the finish line. Your analogy of hard labor is right on.. That goes for the rest of the next gen and middle gen too. Come on guys. Time’s a wasting.

      • The worst possible outcome for Rafa fans. I couldn’t watch. I have always thought that Djokovic plays like a machine on court. Years ago, one tennis fan described ‘the Big Three’ on the ATP Website as follows – Roger – the Maestro; Rafa – the Warrior; and Djokovic – the Engineer! Such an apt description. (I mean no disrespect to any real engineers out there.) I have never enjoyed watching Djokovic’s very effective but, to me, rather monotonous style of play.

        We are really going to miss Rafa’s signature topspin forehand down the line and fighting spirit and Roger’s flair when they retire (quite apart from all their other excellent qualities both on and off the court). I won’t miss Djokovic’s monotonous play or bad behaviour on court for a second but he is not going anywhere until he tops the Grand Slam List. He is a year younger than Rafa; joined the Tour two years later than Rafa and has not suffered the injuries that Rafa has had to deal with throughout his career. The prima donna in him will not rest until he ‘tops the leader board’. Also, unlike Roger and Djokovic, I believe that Rafa has said that he will not tour with a young family and I imagine that, now that they are married, Rafa and Xisca intend to have children sooner rather than later. So we may not see Rafa on tour for very much longer.

        Unfortunately, Djokovic will be the favourite to win Wimbledon. The Next Gen are getting closer all the time but I don’t think they have yet acquired the skills* to beat him on grass. He has already won Wimbledon five times. (*I think Tsitsipas’ best surface is probably clay and Medvedev, Zverev and Sinner’s best surface is undoubtedly hard court; though they should all progress to the later rounds I think.) Rafa may not even enter the tournament.

        This has been a very difficult two days for all Rafa fans. Let’s hope that he recovers well, both physically and mentally, and returns to the Tour ready to do battle once more, when he feels it is right for him.

    • Pauline, re yours @7:55PM—First paragraph

      Stefanos’s fans by default👏👏 they did a great job🤗

      • Indeed. As we all were today. Had never imagined myself cheering so hard for the young man. Still so bummed about the result.

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